Students’ Mental Health


Charlie Desnoyers, Staff Writer

On August 6th, 2021, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill which was introduced to the Illinois government February of this year which expands days students can be marked excused for. This bill covers excused absences ranging from parents on active duty to religious exemptions. After being discussed in the Education Senate Committee and the remainder of the Senate, the Illinois House of Representatives “Elementary & Secondary Education” committee reviewed it, and proposed to add an amendment. The House Committee Amendment No.1, which was added to the original bill, provides that after the student uses their second mental health excused absence day, they are to see a school support personnel. This bill finally takes the step forward at how student’s mental health is viewed and gives students the ability to take control of it, which is crucial to preventing burn-out amid a stressful school year. Arguably the most prominent to all students is paragraph 2 of this bill, detailing various medical reasons to be exempted from school. This paragraph out of the 8 written gives students the right to 5 full excused medical absences for the mental and behavioral wellness of the student. In both the House and Senate, every member of each institution besides those who did not vote (a small percentage), voted for it: proving mental health of students to be an important topic among all Illinois politicians. 

If you are feeling burnt-out from school, it is important you utilize the rights given to you in this bill, effective January 1, 2022. To do so, call your school’s attendance office and inform them of your absence and that you will be using a mental health day. You should be marked excused in the entirety of your classes, if not, ensure you are through the attendance office. Your teachers will be notified and allow you time to make up the assignments you missed in class. This number varies from teacher to teacher, so make sure you are aware of how long you have to complete the work you missed. Excused mental health days are to be treated as any other excused absence, so make sure you are receiving equal treatment like any other one.